The Ebola virus outbreak that began in December 2013 is by far the worst in history, claiming over 11,000 lives in West Africa. While we praise God that the rate of infection is abating, the disease is not eradicated, and its after-effects are far-reaching. The three epicenter countries of Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone are the hardest hit, but the entire region must cope with the effects of Ebola.
Continued vigilance is needed to prevent further outbreak, and the challenge of recovery is enormous. The disease has reversed many of the region’s recent economic gains, aggravating food insecurity and destroying livelihoods. Over 16,000 children have lost one or both parents. Access to healthcare is sharply reduced. Survivors of Ebola frequently face stigma and lingering physical problems. Though the disease is receding, fear and loss remain in its wake.
Yet we know and believe that nothing is beyond the power and authority of God, and that only He is able to stop this disease and bring restoration to West Africa. In the wake of this crisis we grieve not just physical death, but the death of thousands of souls unprepared for eternity. God alone holds the power to forgive and to heal (Psalm 103:3).
“Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He sent forth his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave” (Psalm 107:19,20). If there is to be restoration after this crisis, we know it can only come from the hand of God; and so we cry to the Lord not only for the healing of the body, but also the soul. We pray that as the spread of Ebola stops, an unprecedented spreading of the Gospel across West Africa and around the world would take its place.